Monday, September 06, 2004

An open letter to The Note

You conveyed (i.e. Charlie Cook, The Note) in mid-August that this election was Kerry's to lose. At that point the Swift Vets controversy was all the rage on cable and Kerry's campaign was aggressively hitting back, yet the candidate had not responded directly. 40,000 people showed up in Oregon to cap the Kerry-Edwards post-convention tour. With his cross-country trip complete, and mounting evidence of the Bush's campaign's encouragement of the swift vet controversy, Kerry came out several days later with a forceful denunciation of the "smear and fear" tactics used by BC04' in front of an audience of sympathetic firefighters. Media reports confirmed his case, and fully half of the voters believed the ads were the work of BC04' in a survey after Kerry's speech. The cable nets then went to all swift vets, all the time coverage of the campaign. Several days later, Kerry comes to New York's Cooper Union and offers a speech to try and "turn the page," to the real issues of this campaign - peoples' lives. It was painted overwhelmingly by the media as a defensive gesture, not the true sign of a strong candidate it should have been. Kerry used the Bush campaign's refusal to denounce the ads to illustrate their unwillingness to talk about the "issues that matter in this campaign."

You can blab all you want about a candidate losing control of his public image, and the slow direct response from the candidate to the swift vets, but neither of those things bothered you in mid-August when the most vicious ad had already been running for over a week.

Don't play the impartial observer here. The reason Kerry is hurting now is because you made a couple polls that showed a miniscule shift in the President's direction before the convention an excuse to decry the state of the Kerry campaign on the eve of the Republican convention. You decided that the swift vet thing had worked and anyone who read the papers and certainly those watching on cable last week, would quickly have been lead to believe that Kerry was fucked, and was "shaking up " his campaign to boot. Chris Matthews saying, "God help John Kerry" after Tuesday's (!) speeches comes to mind. Of course it didn't matter that none of this was true, you drove the story, hard.

Now you sit back and ask "what happened" and revel in all these real-people-couldn't-care-less political process stories. You want to know what happened? Ask yourselves.